Our top 10 products for thinning hair
As a child, I cursed the masses of tangled curls that I had. That curse took effect a few years ago when my hair started thinning and falling out exponentially. So began my search for a restorative shampoo that would help boost the hair that I still have. Since there are a myriad of reasons for the cause of thinning and loss of hair, medical reasons need to be ruled out first with the help of your GP or specialists like a dermatologist or trichologist. Hormone imbalances, a deficient diet and genetic conditions – like female pattern baldness – can all play a role. Then there is stress. Distress from environmental damage and over-styling of the hair, as well as the physical toll of emotional stress can cause noticeable breakage, thinning and shedding. Emotional stress is a common cause and the main reason for my hair loss; being a full-time care-giver for my elderly mother is a rollercoaster and I have to remember to be vigilant about my own health and diet. Topping off the cocktail of causes is that women will experience a general, overall thinning of the hair as they get older.
Beauty companies are tackling this concern with targeted shampoos, serums, supplements and all manner of regimes – both ingestible and external. To keep things simple, I will concentrate on shampoos and pre-treatments in this post. The below products come highly recommended and the ones that I have tried and tested (I’ve only included those with good results) are indicated with an asterisk*. Most of these offer a temporary improvement, there’s no quick fix for thinning hair and new growth can take up to six months. Again, the best thing to do is to see an expert.
The first type of products address thinning hair by improving scalp health. They work by increasing blood flow and circulation to the scalp or by clearing it of skin and debris that can clog the pores that house your hair’s root system, thus improving the overall ability for hair growth.
SachaJuan Hair Control Treatment is an award-winning product that has a major cult following. It contains Procapil™ which is a biotin-based ingredient that includes acids derived from olive tree leaves. In clinical trials Procapil™ was shown to significantly boost hair growth, while also reducing loss. This treatment is a lightweight, leave-in product that is vegan, paraben and cruelty-free.
Kiehl’s Magic Elixir This pre-shampoo conditioning treatment works on the scalp because it contains rosemary oil. Allegedly, studies have shown that rosemary oil can be as effective as Minoxidil (the drug used in Rogaine® for Women) to improve scalp circulation and that’s why users rave about its effectiveness. Since it is a pre-conditioner, it is extra hydrating.
*Phytocyane Densifying Treatment Shampoo + This shampoo is 80% botanical and free from all sorts of nasties. It includes Gingko Biloba and Vitamin B6 to prevent thinning and Cinchona Bark to improve the condition of the scalp. This one is particularly good if stress and changing hormones are causing your thinning. There is a hint of reassuringly medicinal scent underneath its red fruits fragrance, and it leaves hair shiny and full.
This shampoo both clears and stimulates by using natural salicylic acid (derived from wintergreen) to exfoliate, while ginseng and organic turmeric tag-team to help stimulate blood flow to the scalp. Aveda offers a whole ‘system’ of Avanti products and thankfully most are available in a travel size should you wish to try before you buy.
*Plantur39 Phyto-Caffeine Shampoo You will find ‘caffeine’ included in a lot of shampoos and treatments for thinning hair because it helps stimulate blood circulation to the scalp. This shampoo trades on it, while wheat proteins and pro-vitamin B5 strengthen and smooth aging, porous hair. It left mine feeling fuller. Also, while many treatment shampoos strip colour from dyed hair, this one is formulated to protect colour while specifically addressing hair loss due to menopause and peri-menopause. Extra bonus, it is one of the most affordable shampoos in this category
The second type of product focuses on strengthening the hair against breakage and the production of thicker strands which – if you hair is thinning due to loss – helps at least improve the appearance of what you have.
We would be remiss not to include a product by renowned Trichologist Phillip Kingsley. Taking seven years to develop, the Volumising Hair and Scalp Treatment is product 2 in the three-step Tricho 7 daily regime. It is designed to rejuvenate hair from the root, strengthening and adding volume thanks to zinc, B6 and the anti-oxidants in Green Tea extract.
Known for paring down its list of ingredients to only the stuff that works, without fillers and perfumes, The Ordinary has built a reputation for no-nonsense quality and affordability. Its Multi-Peptide Serum for Hair Density is packed with four high-tech ingredients to thicken hair: Redensyl® contains Larch wood extract that targets the hair follicle for growth while decreasing hair loss; Procapil™ (see SachaJuan above); Ana-Gain™ made from a pea-protein; and Baicapil™ which includes Chinese skullcap for its anti-inflammatory qualities. They’ve also mixed in some caffeine so this little bottle packs a big punch for fuller, thicker hair.
* Kérastase Densifique Bain Densité Shampoo The gorgeous smell of this shampoo hit me before I even opened the bottle. Its gluco-peptide formula improves the structure of fine hair and it contains hyaluronic acid which, as in skin products, helps retain moisture. It truly makes hair look fuller and feel very soft – note to curly girls: it can make hair a tad frizzy due to its moisture attracting qualities. It is the most instant-results fullness I’ve ever experienced in a shampoo. I used it in conjunction with Kérastase Densifique Fondant Densité Conditioner’ for super hair fullness that lasted for days.
Viviscal is a range specifically made for thinning hair, male and female. The shampoo uses a proprietary blend of ingredients called ‘Antrel’, which includes natural ingredients derived from pea shoots, among others, as well as biotin, keratin, and zinc to nourish and strengthen hair. It does a good job of making existing hair feel more substantial, but even better results were seen when used in tandem with the extra strength supplement.
This shampoo is carried through dermatologists’ offices or can be found online and in boutique pharmacies. It is meant for frequent use and helps prepare the scalp for use of additional hair loss treatments. It contains a cocktail of B vitamins and noticeably less hairs were lost in the shower than normal shampooing. A down-side is it tends to fade colour on dyed hair. But it works well to improve thinning hair.
Alexia Economou is a design and culture journalist, and regular TNMA contributor @thedesignfeedTW
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